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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 20, 2013 2:29am-3:00am EST

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>> that's my office. we have under the foreign assistance act authority delegated to the president whici is delegated to usaid as the ed lead federal coordinator on international disaster response. we have been coordinating, we work with the military to validate requests, and work witw them to help steer their efforto towards wherert it is -- where is the most value add and working closely with the state t department and other interagency colleagues on that koord nationn >> one of the things we've seenr in the past from humanitarian crisis in places like the cris earthquake in haiti, children displaced become potential victims of trafficking and ti, things of this nature. is that part of our response coe efforts? are we thinking about how we f could -- some estimates are 2 million children have been affected. what are the steps we are thinking about or who is we thinking about things we can doo to reduce the risk of abuse in trafficking and things like that?in of we've seen that in the past.that >> absolutely. yes, thank you.
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absolutely that is a serious concern. and trafficking, and i know t t that -- that scot can talk more to the trafficking aspect in particular. on the usaid side we have sent a protection adviser on to the adisaster assistance response team to look into exactly this set of issues. we have also been in all of our partnersship so far, ensuring that we do a technical review o those that takes those kinds of issues into account to make sure that nothing that any of our partners are doing could inadvertently be supporting or enailing that. and going forward, i think we're going to look into more specific program options to ensure that that is addressed.ras >> my last question is more on the geopolitical realm, but po critical long term as we go to the american people and justify our ability.ustify if you look at this as a multifaceted response it looks e as our aid agencies, diplomatic response, it also has a military component in terms of being able to deliver aid and ss
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forth and calls attention to why our military serves a purpose well beyond conducting warfare.e the principle objective is to provide for national security but has logistical capabilities unrivalled and unmatched anywhere in the world. in th in contrast is the chinese response to this has been so limited, at best.n there's all kinds of speculation as to why.li what has been the perception of thatmi. has that been noticed that the t chinese are not there?ch they doin have an aid ship, i think it's called the peace arks it's a hospital ship that they have not deployed, and i mean, what is the perception as to whe the chinese have not jumped outj and and participated more robustly in response to a crisis in their region?respon >> senator, that is a good isis question. g i would say i absolutely agreeo with you that we responded fully to this crisis for humanitarians reasons.
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but i think it has shown hink i think reinforced in the minds of filipino people, that we're t longtime and good partner that they can depend on. i think more broadly throughout the region has highlighted what we've been saying throughout th region that the u.s. military, u as you said, in addition to to being an unmatched fighting force, also brings unmatched logistical capabilities. which they use, unfortunately al have to use quite often in the f region for disaster response. i think that's gone widely noticed. i wouldn't want to speculate on why the chinese have responded the way they have. i do know at some point d philippine authorities suggestet there was no need for further gd medical equipment and support, r whether that played a role on ma the hospital ship not coming, i'm not sure. ship
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i think the more important point from our perspective is by doing the right thing, we've seen seen in the region as doing the righe thing.st >> well, just my editorial comment to close, and i don't expect you to respond to it, bur we have this debate going on in this country how engaged the u.s. needs to be around the world diplomatically in aid programs, and of course militarily with our presence. this is an example what would mi happen if the u.s. did retreat e from the global stage.. there is no substitute for the united states as the people of e the philippines would probably b agree at this point, seeing the response that we're giving. as far as the chinese are are concerned, all this talk about containing china, that is not co our goal. is we would love to see the peaceful rise of china. we would like to see them assume what leadership nations do e to around the globe. a this is an example of chinese a foreign policy.le which is, you know, if you go -- it's a one-way street. if you can go into these countries and do everything the want you to do, they respond with cash assistance and things of this nature. on the other hand it's well
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documented that they have territorial disputes with the s philippines, which the e philippines is right on and the chinese are wrong on, and you've seen the result now when you onn have a humanitarian crisis, thev chinese have been less than willing to respond.e are compare that to the united le states which consistently has ss been willing to put aside whatever political differences e we may have when a humanitarianr crisis strikes. we saw it in pakistan, haiti, we've seen it here and in other places, and including japan, of, course, a very close ally.of but my point is i think this is a graphic example of imagine a world without an engaged united states. this response effort would not be at the stage it's at right now. i think it's just obviously thes right thing to do, but also ng calls attention to how important it is that we remain engaged not just in this region but all oves the world and i thank you both for your service. >> senator rubio, thank you for your comments. senator flake? >> with regard to chinese involvement, there are also entt issues they have disputes with philippines in the south china u
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sea. how much has that played, do you think, in their inability or unwillingness to help out? >> senator, it's a good ess to question. h the disputes between china and the philippines over maritime boundaries in particular is wel known.partic i don't want to try to speak for the chinese government because i don't know how much, if at all,o that's affected their response. but certainly, the disputes have been getting a lot of attentiont and something we pay a lot of on attention to, as well. >> we heard mostly about the out efforts in tacloban. can you talk about efforts in ua some of the other provinces, islands, what is the u.s. doing? >> absolutely. the storm first made landfall ie the area of guiuan which is in the far east of samar island, and then continued along througn
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the central philippines, going almost directly over top of tacloban city, and onwards across the northern tip of the island of cebu, and then some of the islands further west. it had weakened by that time. so the worst damage that we've t seen really is in that about a 40-mile -- a 40-mile strip north and south of the central path of the typhoon. and the worst affected really are in those coastial areas from guiuan in the east over to tacloban and the other side of leyte island. but after that it's bad but we didn't see the ferocious storm surge. the u.s. military working in partnership with usaid has been delivering aid shipments all dei over that, all over those coastal areas. there is a great map.those i don't have it with me, but wer can make sure you get it, that y the marine units did showing it, where they did all those air drops, sorry, all those drop deliveries, excuse me. and that it just -- there are
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dots all over that coast. the ca all over those coastal areas. that's where it's been focused. now we're starting to look intod some of the inland areas which s suffered wind and rain damage, but obviously not the storm surge. >> the world bank made loans available or will make loans available for better buildings, more storm resistant infrastructure there. is the philippine government anticipate to participate or toi take advantage of this or not?h? >> i'd start by saying, i think in the wake -- in the face of ai storm surge like we saw there, s there's only so much you can do. and i think we even saw that can here with hurricane sandy a few years ago. that is just first oeshs force. with that said, the building, wh improved buildings and whole range of other natural disaster risk reduction activities have a been a focus of yousaid's partnership with the government of the philippines and the world bank's partnership for quite
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some time.and wo i would certain imagine that img that will be a focus going forward. this -- this is a huge -- this is a huge priority now for the whole development and humanitarian community and i would expect that any tool tool that's appropriate to that context will be used. >> thank you. senator, if i could just add >> real quickly, i think per jeremy's point, the philippine r government actually did a lot to prepare for this storm, becausea they had a little bit of warning. i think if i remember right they evacuated almost 800,000 people. evacuated in the sense of of bringing them to shelters. again, not anticipating, none oi us anticipated, the storm surgeo which caused a lot of the damagt and probably a lot of the deaths. and since the storm, has done as good job facilitating not only ours but international assistance. i think they deserve a lot of rs credit for that. >> the first responsibility obviously of government to make sure that u.s. citizens. living there are taken care of h and i just want to commend u.s.e
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government response in that eree record. i am family members who are there serving mormon missions. and there was a situation in tuo tacloban with a number of mormon missionaries who were eventualls brought to safety i wn manila ba c-130 flying out of tacloban. o and they endured a lot. gratefully, all were safe. but the u.s. government helped a great deal in that regard.saved were you aware of that? or -- >> senator, i wasn't aware of that particular case, but i certainly am aware that u.s. f military did transport a number of american citizens.23, i think 123, if i remember do correctly. i'll double-check that number. from tacloban up to manila or cebu. people who were affected by the storm. >> as well as a lot of filipinos who have needed care. >> that's right. well, thank you for that and thank you for the response. >> senator schatz, as i pointed
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out, is not a member of the committee but will you give him the courtesy to ask questions through the chair. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman and members for your indulgence. thanks to the testifiers. and mr. ambassador, our condolences and our appreciation for all your good work. director konyndyk, could you take us through the next six to nine months as we move into the recovery phase and sort of what's the best case scenario from a recovery standpoint and d what's the worst case scenario and what kinds of resources american and international inten private, not for profit need tot be put together so that we can r avoid the worst case scenario. >> absolutely. and thank you for that question. so first obviously there's onlyc so much we can speculate becausa there's still a lot we don't kn. know. we're gathering a lot ofwe information. we are currently heavily focusey on insuring that we get the e g relief response right. and that has been an intense rl focus for the past ten days.
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but we are beginning to think about the longer term and what that's going to look like. i will be traveling out tomorrow and that's going to be a major f focus of my trip is exploring more of that.we we know some things now. we know, for example, s transitional shelter will be anr enormous priority. we are providing emergency shelter materials right now. the heavy-duty plastic sheetinga that was shown earlier. and that can get people a g certain period. but it's obviously not a long-term solution.. rubble clearance will be a sign significant challenge. and we're already talking with e the military about whether the h u.s. military can play a role ia that.t that's obviously a significant t policy question for the government of the philippines ai well. we know as well things like agriculture will be important focus on. of a number of important ere agricultural crops were wiped out by the storm. and this is an agricultural area. there's coconut farming. there's rice farming. and other agricultural commodities. we're going to be moving swiftly, coordinating with the
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usa development mission in the h philippines to address some of o those what we call early recovery needs and ensure there are not deficits there. i'd also point out that there is a robust development mission the u.s. has in the philippines and they will be also prioritizing this response over the coming six to nine months. >> so i thinks. it's been nse established that the united states response has been robustn has been well coordinated and has exceeded by orders of magnitude the response of any d other country.sponse but my question for you is scale. certainly what we're doing is a lot. how does it compare to the current needs? are we anywhere near dealing with the consequence managementt piece ofhi this before we move into recovery. the response is no doubt robust, but is it enough? ne and how much more will we need p to do to sort of wrap our arms around this problem in the next several weeks?>> i t
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>> yeah. well, i think the u.s. role so far has been crucial in getting aid in but also has been crucial in setting the foundation for aa much m broader aid effort. so by clearing out some of thosi initial logistical problems in close partnership with the government of the philippines wn have really enabled a the much broader aid response that without that partnership between the u.s. aid, the state been department and the department of defense would not be possible. in terms of resource available,f we are getting more and more clarity on that. there is a lot coming in now.anl the u.s. is still the largest but australia has put in a substantial amount. the u.n. has put in a substantial amount. and the d,u.n. has asked for 30 million for the initial response and i think as of yesterday yes there was about 55% that had been committed, which for this point in a crisis within just a few days of the appeal launching is generally considered to be a pretty good figure. now that figure is not based on a huge amount of evidence a because it came out early.th
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there's a lot more examination ongoing now of what that true scale of the need and the response requirements will be. and some of the other donor inare beginning to come online. i feel like it's in a good place for this point in time. is the momentum is positive. the u.s. assistance and u.s. role was absolutely critical in getting momentum and getting the ball rolling.he and going forward we're going v. to -- we'll have to see how needs evolve but we're on a good trajectory for this point in the crisis. >> thank you so much. crisi and chairman, on behalf of the nearly 200,000 filipino in americans living in hawaii we nn really appreciate your aii, indulgence and all of your greae work in this very difficult . time.appr thank you. >> thank you, senator schatz. appreciate your being here. today the cameras are here and we're all focused on how we can help and obviously it's receiving the type of priority s it should. one of the purposes of this hearing is to make sure that in the months ahead the focus is i still on how americaca can help
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with the international community and the government of the philippines. so that's why i think it was particularly important to hold s this hearing but to let people know this is not the end of our interest on this issue as to how we move forward. senator markey is here. and he will be recognized.>> t >> thank you. mr. chairman. very much. so in the wake of the disaster there is also a risk of secondary disasters, unsanitaryi drinking water, rapidly spreading virus.readin what precautions and measures et are beingio taken to prevent to outbreaks of infectious diseases? and i don't know if thatre question had been asked. >> no, it had not.tion it's a good question. >> thank you, senator. that is a major concern of ours. and we have been putting a very
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attentive focus on the health sector from the u.s. a.i.d. said. at this point we have not seen - and the department of department of health has not seen ons indications of disease outbreaks. it's always a risk in this kind of a situation as you note because of a lot of standing water and often poor sanitation. and that's why from the very beginning u.s.a.i.d. in partnership with our d.o.d. colleagues have really prioritized water and sanitation in our response, so that people have access to clean water and that they can address some of the sanitary issues and hygiene issues that often go hand in in hand with that increased disease risk.>> >> so will the ship usns mercy be deployed? >> senator, at this point no. pacific command was prepared to deploy, but philippine authorities advised that they s
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would rather have us focus in other areas, that they felt likl they had sufficient assistance plus their own resources on the medical side.si >> at a time like this we need to focus on helping the survivors and the "uss george washington" and other ships thap provide essential help in savg e lives but we also need to be concerned about the next storm and the one after that. how did the early warning systee perform, and how could it be improved? >> it was certainly a significant factor in this case can. and while it's hard to speculate how many lives it saved i think we can say pretty confidently it definitely saved lives. u.s.a.i.d., the office of foreign disaster assistance and our mission in the philippines have worked many years with the government of the philippines to help build up their disaster risk reduction capacity and they take that very seriously because they are hit by disasters many, many times a year.they tak
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in this case the storm was hit anticipated well in advance. and there are regional nce. meteorological networks that help contribute to that awareness. that enabled the government of the philippines to evacuate nearly 800,000 people into emergency shelters out of the way of the storm's path as well as prepositioned food and some other commodities. >> so reports the storm surge took many people by surprise you think is exaggerated?surge >> the storm surge was surprising. what we were anticipating was certainly heavy winds, rainfall -- actually, we were r anticipating a much worse rainfall problem than we saw. these predictions are never exact. >> did the storm surge come as a surprise to our scientists as well? >> the storm surge -- and much o like i think with superstorm sandy here where the severity of the storm surge was not rm anticipated i think it's a similar dynamic there. we anticipated some but not a 30-foot storm surge.30 >> do you think after hurricanei
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sandy and after this situation a that we should begin to te reevaluate what it is that we should be expecting in terms of storm surges? is the fact that the oceans are getting so much warmer and the c storms so much more dynamic something that should be factored in to what it is we include as warnings from storm surges? >> you know, i think -- and i'm not a scientist on these issues. clearly we need to factor in the potential for storm surge. and i'm not sure what the science behind making that possible looks like. but it's something in our -- ngt after any disasterha like this usaid does a review and i'm sure that will be a factor we look at. >> it's my understanding many ot the casualties occurred in government shelters that collapsed or flooded.we were they badly built and the positioned or was the storm just
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too strong? >> senator, my understanding isr that -- i can't speak for everyone, but in general people were evacuated to storm shelters that most of us had anticipatede would serve the purpose effectively. but the storm surge in particular that jeremy described i think affected and inundated some of those shelters even if they withstood the wind and the rain. >> this was an ef4 tornado strength, you know, winds.uilt what were these shelters built to withstand? do you know? >> i don't know offhand but we can look into that. there's going to be -- certainly once this initial period of intense relief activity settlest down there's going to be a lot t of probing of those kinds of ofp questions. >> i thinkr it might be advisabi for us to work with them so that we might be able to give them a good recommendation as to what the strength should be given kind of the predictable nature of intensifying of storms.
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water expands when it's heated. the oceans are getting much warmer. and as a result the waves are ch much higher. as a result the storms are more devastating. this is something that's scientifically indisputable and i think that we should work with them to help them work it through. it's worth noting that this etn typhoon was forecast to hitaf vietnam after it struck the viea philippines. just last month the usa and vietnam agreed to a civil nuclear cooperation agreement. i think we should begin to think about whether or not we should be putting nuclear power plants, you know, with u.s. cooperatione in countries like vietnam knowing that without proper protection there could be catastrophic consequences that l flow from the interaction of a
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natural disaster and a nuclear power plant that is not as strong or as well positioned as it could be. we just saw that in japan.tions they're going to be going several generations with the a consequences of a natural disaster linked to nuclear powen plants. and so from my perspective i want to, you know, congratulatev everyone who participated in helping, especially in these early stages of relief.but but i think for u.s.a.i.d., for the state department, for the defense department, i think that we all have to come together in a way that deals with the national security consequences ofof climate change, the impacti that it's having upon our allies and our enemies. that modifies their behavior in terms of how they are able to in
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fact control their own environment and understand thenm what the consequences are for our national security because theirs is undermined. so again, it's just one more warning. and if we needed it it's a domestic issue as well, with 65l tornadoes all dropping down in one day out in the middle west s in the middle of november. this is unprecedented, the impact that climate change is s having, and it has severe long-term national security consequences, and we thank both of you for your work, mr. chairman. >> let me join senator markey is his concerns. it's clear that the relates of more extreme weather require uso to be engaged international ly n mitigating as much damage as wee can with the n new reality.nator of course the best course in which senator mark yees been one of the leaders is to do something about this from the
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standpoint of climate change. of i think both are important nt pi points, that the costnt of thes storms in loss of life and in the cost of rebuilding communities is enormous and beyond the capacities of government to be able to respond to. and then when you put certain ik facilities in these high-risk areas the security issue becomes even greater and the cost even . greater. so thanks, senator markey, for raising those issues. i am very impressed by the u.s. response to this storm, and i thank both of you for your leadership. mr. konyndyk, i wish you safe travels tomorrow.afe mr. marcel, we wish you a speedy return here tomorrow for our yo second hearing this week of the subcommittee. but we thank you both for your r public service, and we will ntee continue our interests, and we y
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thank you for not only your ngns testimony today but your willingness to keep us informedo as we look at the long-term rebuilding process that's going to be necessary in how the united states plays a role in that, in following up on senator markey's points as to what we should be doing to try to mitigate these types of disasters in the future. and with that the subcommittee will stand adjourned. thanks.
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president obama spoke today at an event hosted by the "wall street journal." you can see the entire event at c-span.org. here's a little of what he said about partisanship. >> so we're going to have to do it all. in my conversations with the republicans i actually think the divide is not that wide. so what we just have to do is find a pathway where republicans in the house in particular feel comfortable enough about process that they can go ahead and meet us. this, by the way, jerry, i think is a good example of something that's been striking me about our politics for a while.
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when you go to other countries, the political divisions are so much more stark and wider. here in america the difference between democrats and republicans, we're fighting inside the 40 yard line. maybe -- >> you fooled most people on that in the last few months, i'd say. >> no, but -- no, no, no. i would distinguish between the rhetoric and the tactics versus the ideological differences. i mean, in most countries you've got -- people call me a socialist sometimes. but you've got to meet real socialists. you'll have a sense of what a socialist is. you know, the -- i'm talking about lowering the corporate tax rate. my health care reform is based on the private marketplace. stock market's looking pretty good last time i checked.
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and it is true that i'm concerned about growing inequality in our system. but nobody questions the efficacy of market economies in terms of producing wealth and innovation and keeping us competitive. on the flip side, you know, most republicans, even the tea party -- one of my favorite signs during the campaign was folks hoisting a sign, "government, keep your hands off my medicare." think about that. ideologically they did not like the idea of the federal government, and yet they felt very protective about the basic social safety net that had been structured. so my simple point is this -- if we can get beyond the tactical advantages that parties perceive
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in painting folks as extreme and trying to keep an eye always on the next election and for a while at least just focus on governing, then there is probably 70% overlap on a whole range of issues. a lot of republicans want to get infrastructure done just like i do. a lot of them believe in basic research just like i do. a lot of them want to reform entitlements to make sure they're affordable for the next generation. so do i. a lot of them say they want to reform our tax system. so do i. there are going to be differences on the details. and those details matter. and i'll fight very hard for them. but we shouldn't think that somehow the reason we've got these problems is because our policy differences are so great. >> well, the -- >> a typical day would begin with her coming in in the

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